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(CNN) — A new coronavirus variant could lead to a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, “potentially accelerating the pandemic trajectory,” U.S. health officials warned Wednesday. ..

“I know these variants are of concern, especially as there are signs of progress,” Dr. Rochelle Warrensky of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at a White House briefing Wednesday. “I’m also worried, so I’ll talk about them today.

“Continuous spread of more contagious variants can jeopardize last month’s progress if we fail to be vigilant.”

so Report released on WednesdayResearchers at the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health detailed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant (first identified in the United Kingdom) among eight residents of Minnesota. Previous modeling data suggest that this potentially more contagious variant could become the predominant variant in the United States in March.

A new study published in the Weekly Report on CDC Morbidity and Mortality described people aged 15 to 41 years whose samples were collected from mid-December to mid-January. Five reported Covid-19-like symptoms and three were asymptomatic.

Of the eight, three had a history of traveling abroad in the two weeks before they became ill, two of whom traveled to West Africa, one to the Dominican Republic, and three to California. did. One was exposed to the virus at home and the other in the community. No one had a history of traveling to the UK.

Subspecies identification in Minnesota includes “use of masks, physical distance, avoidance of crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, isolation of persons diagnosed with COVID-19, quarantine of close contact with COVID-19”. We emphasize the importance of mitigation measures such as “Compliance with the CDC Travel Guidance,” the report said.

At the White House briefing, Valensky said, “It’s more important than ever to do everything we can to reduce spreads.”

“The fewer cases, the less chance that variants will spread and the less chance that new variants will emerge,” she said.

On Tuesday, the CDC reported that at least 1,299 cases of the first coronavirus strains found in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil were reported in the United States. The majority of these cases, 1,277, are the first B.1.1.7 variants detected in the United Kingdom. This variant has been found in 41 states and Washington, DC. About one-third is in Florida.

19 of these 1,299 are B.1.351 variants first identified in South Africa. The first P.1 strain associated with Brazil was found in two cases in Minnesota and one in Oklahoma.

These numbers do not represent the total number of such cases prevalent in the United States, but only those found by analyzing positive samples.

Rapid increase in cases is “unavoidable”

so Separate report Researchers in Zambia and elsewhere, published by the CDC on Wednesday, explained how the detection of the B.1.351 mutant in South Africa was consistent with the surge in cases in Zambia — and the mutation. The body may have become the dominant stock there.

A variant of B.1.351 may be endemic elsewhere in southern Africa, with many countries reporting spikes in Covid-19 cases in December and January.

“The epidemic of the B.1.351 mutant raises public health concerns because it can increase infectivity, thus increasing cases, hospitalizations, and mortality,” the researchers write. ..

so Related commentary was also released on Wednesday, Walensky, Dr. Henry Walke of the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, identified cases of B.1.351 mutants in Zambia from March to early December 2020 by genome sequencing. I wrote that it was not done. Variants were identified in 96% of samples sequenced from the week mid-December. This corresponded to a 16-fold increase in the incidence of Covid-19 in Zambia from early December to early January.

“The possibility of having a similar experience in the United States is a real threat,” Walensky and her co-author wrote in the medical journal JAMA. “But such consequences are unavoidable. The United States and other countries have the ability to prevent this consequence from occurring through strong and immediate public health measures.”

They state that the US Department of Health and Human Services’ SARS-CoV-2 inter-ministerial group was developed to strengthen inter-agency coordination, including the rapid identification and monitoring of variants of concern. The institution evaluates tests, studies reinfection, and evaluates treatments. They continue to study how the vaccine is affected by the mutants, studying the “breakthrough” infections that occur after vaccination.

Although cases of US Covid-19 are declining, they said reducing infections is as important as accelerating vaccination.

In the United States, there are also moves to strengthen genome sequencing surveillance. The state health department processes 750 samples per week, and the CDC is currently contracting with a commercial lab to “significantly increase” surveillance to over 6,000 samples per week.

“In order to stay ahead of the inevitable evolution of mutants that can dangerously accelerate the pandemic orbit, a coordinated and well-coordinated public health regimen, along with rapid and widespread intake of effective vaccines. Efforts are essential, “Walensky and her co-authors write. ..

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